Jaxon Evans was able to hold off a charging Dom Storey to take out the opening round of the CAMS Australian Endurance Championship at Phillip Island.
The weather conditions were awful at Phillip Island for the 500km event but Evans with teammate Tim Miles were able to tame the conditions.
They benefited from the Australian GT Championship’s parity by having two compulsory pitstops of 79 seconds, verses 112 seconds for their adversaries. It should be noted that the teams only had to change drivers once throughout the race.
“I knew he had the speed, so I was really, really looking forward to driving with him,” said Miles after claiming his first Australian Endurance Championship race win alongside Evans.
“Jaxon did such a good job in qualifying, and I did okay, so we had a good qualifying position.
“Then, by the time I pitted, we were still sort of in the lead group,” he added. “Jaxon just had the pace to come through to the front and keep us there.”
Early on in the race a heavy shower hit the track bringing out the safety car, crucially this safety car came out before the pit stop window was open.
But this stop would bring drama for Storey with his teammate, Peter Hackett also cost them valuable time. The issue in the stop resulted from a safety car and teams stacking their cars. The resulting chaos meant that the then leader, Hackett couldn’t get into his pit box to commence his stop.
Max Twigg had elected not to stop and opened up a lap on the field with the exception of Liam Talbot, Matthew Stopas and Miles.
Twigg somehow managed to stay on slick tyres until the pitlane opened and his stop would drop him to twelfth. He and Tony D’Alberto would end up finishing tenth.
There were several incidents throughout the race with Stoupas making contact with James Bergmuller’s BMW.
Stoupas would be in the news again towards the end of the race, getting trapped in the gravel at Luckey Heights. It was an eventful race for Stoupas in his Audi as he also briefly led the race.
The Walkinshaw Porsche was having a strong run with John Martin behind the wheel but they had a pitstop that was under the required time and therefore had to serve the stop again. This dashed their hopes for a win.
Finally Brad Sheils in a Lamborghini found the gravel on lap 80 triggering a safety car. This would set up the fight to the flag with Storey getting back in touch with the leaders.
But it was Evans and Miles that took the win, helped out by great strategic calls.
Storey and Hackett took second and Fraser Ross and Warren Luff took third.
The next round of the Australian Endurance Championship takes place on August 18-20 in Sydney.